Two-time and reigning Olympic gold medalist Alistair Brownlee has characteristically backed himself to become the new iron distance world record holder, adding his name to the Sub-7 Project. The multiple ITU world champion will look to be the one to make history as part of the record-breaking attempt backed by the Pho3nix Foundation.
Seven hours, 35 minutes, 39 seconds. That’s the record for the fastest time ever over the iron distance. Despite the record dropping by just 24 minutes over 24 years, the Team GB superstar believes taking more than half an hour off the current record in one attempt and breaking 7 hours is possible.
If ever there was an athlete who could do it, it’s Brownlee. The only person to claim ITU world champion crowns as a junior, U23, and elite racer, and the only one to ever successfully defend Olympic triathlon gold, his arrival on the circuit reshaped the way this sport is raced; aggressive from start to finish, making the conservative tactics of past champions obsolete. Whilst currently targeting an unprecedented third consecutive Olympic gold, Brownlee has also developed into a force in long-distance triathlon, most recently winning Ironman Western Australia in 7:45:21, breaking the course record by more than six minutes.
Brownlee has his own ideas of what it would take to go Sub7, and will carve out his own path toward the goal as he has always done.
He says, “The Ironman distance is mystical in the sporting world. I had the original idea of seeing if it is possible to cover that distance in under 7 hours. It is clear that there are only relatively small time gains to be made on the swim and run. So, the majority of the time saving is going to have to come from the bike. I hope to make these with a mixture of maximising my performance, my equipment, my aerodynamics and the conditions. All of these present fascinating challenges in their own right which is why it’s such an exciting project.
“I was fascinated by the Sub 2 hour marathon project. Not only was it about producing the ultimate human performance on the day; but also, it was about pushing the boundaries of science to see how fast a human could go.
“I’m hoping 2021 will be a big and busy racing year for me. After Kona my focus will switch entirely to the Sub7 project. It’s great to have this new and exciting project to look forward to in 2022.”